By Storm Pearton
My first season on the Workaway programme has been a very interesting and entertaining one. I had been briefed on what to expect but I was still very nervous. The flight there was long but enjoyable with friendly people who were joining me on this adventure. We had few hours to spare when we arrived in New York before boarding our connecting flight, and as it was snowing some of us got to experience the magic of snow for the first time.
Arriving at our country club was quite overwhelming due to its size and pristine condition. Team members who had been on the Florida Workaway programme before were kind enough to show us around and guide us to places where we could stock up on essentials for the first two weeks. Training started the following day - it was intense, exciting and a bit daunting to see the high standard expected but the staff and everyone was very helpful and in no time I got the hang of things.
Our club was under renovation so my first official shift was in a huge tent where service standards were still of exceptional quality. As the renovations were coming to an end in the new club house we were taken on a walk-though. It was an eye-opener – the new club house was like nothing I had ever seen before; I felt like I was in a wonderland. The service was impeccable, the food unbelievable, and the members friendly and excited that the South Africans had arrived. They were so interested in my life and my country that they made my first experience a warm and welcoming one. The American staff were more than helpful and friendly, helping me along wherever they could. The work is hard and you can push some good hours certain weeks, which sometimes took a lot out of me, but at the end of the day when that pay cheque comes, it is all worth it.
I was able to play some golf and better my game, which was a great privilege as the golf course is world class and has hosted a Major golf tournament for many years. The apartments where we stayed were more than suitable for a good time – we had the use of a 24-hour gym and swimming pool, which I made good use of on my off days, especially during the hot Florida summer.
I am so happy that I took the leap and signed up for this experience. I have matured in many different ways and I cannot wait to go back for another season, to learn more, have more fun and make more memories.